7 November 1997

Lamb remains dim to March

LAMB prices will remain depressed, not only to Christmas, but through to next March, ADAS sheep specialist Neil Pickard told an MLC seminar at Harrogate on Wednesday (Nov 5).

Marketings to the end of October were almost 1m down on last year. That left between 800,000 and 900,000 lambs still to come forward and this was bound to have a knock-on effect.

Last year lamb prices had risen with increased demand resulting from the BSE crisis. But consumption was now falling back to pre-BSE levels, while the strength of sterling was limiting export opportunities to France.

Mr Pickard also pointed out that, while the EUs Agenda 2000 proposals left the sheep meat regime unchanged, there would be side effects.

If beef prices fell 20% in the market as a result of a 30% cut in support, it was bound to have an effect on the price of competing meats. Long-term, the industry was going to have to move more to world prices.n